Robert Sobel, Historian
"What will they think of next!” was a 1920s saying, because new things were continually coming out. And there were new things which you could enjoy, not just for the few. So it was a period of high hope. That’s why the depression was so severe — because we started so high, we fell so low…
[In the 1920s] every part of the economy did well, except for coal mining and certain parts of agriculture. But this was a period in which the American household gets the washing machine, gets a refrigerator, goes off gas light and gets electricity in some cities, in which the family buys a car and goes on a long vacation. This didn’t occur before the 1920s.
In 1920, for the first time, the census showed that a majority of Americans lived in cities. We were becoming an urbanized society. And if you lived in a city in 1925, ’26 or thereabouts, you had all these things going for you. In addition, you were getting your first vacation. People didn’t get vacations before the 1920s. You learned how to buy goods on time, so you didn’t defer your expectations. You were working a five-and-a-half day week, not a six-day week… So things looked pretty good.
Intrepid journalist Nelly Bly went on a journey around the world breaking the record of Julius Verne's fictional character.
John Scopes' free speech trial pitted science against religion after the teacher presented Charles Darwin's theory of evolution in a Tennessee school.
The life of the legendary photographer, known best for his black and white images of the wilderness of the American West.
Legendary bank robber John Dillinger garnered the admiration of many struggling Americans, but FBI took him down with a message: crime doesn't pay.
Politics, culture, race relations, and technology in a year of change.
The personal journey of three generations of a Japanese American family, including their stint in internment camps during World War II.
Television game shows became an instant national phenomenon in 1955, but four years later contestant Charles van Doren admitted they were a scam.
The influential musical pioneers from Appalachia whose recordings lifted spirits during the Great Depression.